THE new leader of Vale of White Horse District Council has vowed to change the authority for the better.

Emily Smith has been a Liberal Democrat district councillor for Botley and Sunningwell for four years and is also a county councillor for Abingdon North.

Her deputy will be Debby Hallett, who represents the same ward on the district council, and will also be the cabinet member responsible for corporate services.

Mrs Smith said: “Vale residents voted for change and we are going to deliver it.

“Our top priority is to sort out the financial mess the Conservatives left us with. We will be going through the budget line by line and identifying every potential way to find efficiencies and increase the council’s income.

“We are also getting straight to work on our commitments to build genuinely affordable housing, deliver the infrastructure the district’s rapid development needs and to put action to tackle the Climate Emergency at the heart of our agenda. We are enormously grateful to local people for giving us this opportunity to turn things round.”

Mrs Smith now leads 30 other Lib Dem councillors. There are six Conservative councillors and one Green member.

It means a vast political change from how the authority was run before this month’s elections. Before May 2, the Lib Dems had nine councillors and the Conservatives 29.